News 30.09.2022

Branching out towards a hydrogen economy, safety first

Hydrogen is on everyone’s lips and hydrogen is seen as an important part of the future energy system. The vision of the Hydrogen Cluster Finland is that by 2030, the hydrogen economy will have become a new export pillar for Finland and hydrogen-based solutions will be flourishing. The hydrogen cluster brings together companies in the sector and aims to accelerate the emergence of the hydrogen economy.

On Monday 26 September, the Hydrogen Cluster Safety Working Group held a hydrogen safety risk scenario workshop at Fortum’s headquarters. The working group is chaired by Mikko Muoniovaara, who is responsible for the development of Fortum’s hydrogen business in Finland. The workshop brought together 27 participants from different member companies of the hydrogen cluster.

Although hydrogen itself is not a new invention, the current large-scale use of hydrogen is unprecedented and this brings with it many new issues, most importantly safety.

“Hydrogen must be perceived as safe. It is important that industry players work together to increase understanding of what hydrogen safety means and how to prevent risks,” says Saara Viik, Helen’s Technology Manager for Hydrogen and Vice-Chair of the Hydrogen Cluster Safety Working Group.

Uniform safety standards to boost the hydrogen economy

Safety is a priority in hydrogen, as it is in all energy production. So far, hydrogen has been used mainly in chemical processes. As we move towards the large-scale use of hydrogen as an energy source and as a fuel, for example in industry and transport, safety issues will take centre stage. Safety standards for hydrogen are currently being developed.

“It is good to see how we in Finland can make the best possible progress on hydrogen safety by creating common practices and procedures. Hydrogen safety is still an open field, even at EU level. It would be important for the European hydrogen economy to have uniform standards for all,” Viik says.

The risk scenario workshop was facilitated by AFRY consultants. The workshop introduced different risk scenario tools and discussed risk prevention. Representatives of the Rescue Department Helsinki were also present.

“It is great to be involved from the beginning when safety practices are developed. This requires multi-stakeholder cooperation when we are dealing with something new. The tasks of the Rescue Department include participation in regional and local safety planning. That is why cooperation with operators at an early stage is of paramount importance to us,” says Janne Rautasuo, Head of Unit, Rescue Department Helsinki.

Mikko Muoniovaara, who hosted the day, was pleased with the outcomes of the workshop.

“The aim of the hydrogen cluster is to play an active role in ensuring hydrogen safety and developing guidelines and standards. The workshop brought together a lot of expertise from several companies in the field and today we learned together a lot about the specifics of hydrogen safety. ”

The Hydrogen Cluster has organised several other workshops among its members to promote the development of the hydrogen economy and cooperation among its broad membership. The cluster currently has a membership of more than 60 companies. More information on the hydrogen cluster

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